A Run Three Years in the Making…

[Note from Editor Meghan Hicks: iRunFar’s comic maker, Eliza Murphy, wanted to toast Editor-in-Chief, Bryon Powell, for completing his third full-time year at this website’s helm with today’s comic. We took things further and collected a couple stories from Bryon’s friends about shared times on the trail and at races. Stay tuned for those below the comic as well as your chance to toast Bryon.]

(Click here for a larger version of the comic.)

Toasting Bryon

From Scott Wolfe:

“Picture if you will… My runner gets out of the boat at the River Crossing of the Western States 100. Behind him comes the Pacer who is handing off to me and this is the image I am presented with. Bloody Nose, White Shirt…so, Bloody Shirt. Skid Marks on the hands. Covered in that fine dust that seems to get into everything. Sweat and Blood streaks cascading down the smiling face, red goatee and teensiest, tiniest little ponytail of one Bryon Powell. Did I mention his accoutrement also included merely one compression sleeve? One. It seems that Bryon took a rather unusual line down the Elevator Shaft and managed a full on superman yard sale on the descent and popped back up and kept running without his runner, Andy Jones Wilkins, having to break stride or miss a beat. Total, consumate, professional. Did I mention that he did this while he was “covering” the race for iRunFar that year? He took the time out to honor a commitment to his runner and keep a long standing tradition alive. Andy went on to another Top 10 finish, and iRunFar continued to grow.

Cheers, MonkeyBoy”

From Ellie Greenwood:

“My favourite thought of Bryon was before Chuckanut this year. Bryon was of course hanging out at packet pick-up, stalking us runners as we came in and politely but persuadingly pulling us to the side to see if he could get a little pre-race video footage. I dashed into pick-up fairly late and was off to get dinner but of course could spare 10 minutes or so for the iRunFar camera. A few minutes? Well that’s what I thought! Bryon chatted and asked questions and like any quality interviewer he focused on who he was talking to rather than the camera, which was sitting on a tripod a few metres away. Too bad, as we wrapped up the talk Bryon turned to the camera only to see he had filmed some excellent footage of the sky rather than us! He looked dismayed, alarmed and well – a rather brief repeat was soon filmed. Need to get yourself a proper cameraman, Bryon?


From Adam Chase:

“Bryon may well be a ginger but I think of him as more of a Creamsicle. He’s orange on the outside and vanilla inside, only his vanilla is speckled with trail dirt, like the recent picture of him at Transvulcania, when he took his smiling digger on the ashen slopes. But what is really on the inside of Bryon is pure passion and that is what drives him and fuels him to work crazy hours. Seeing Bryon while he’s covering an ultra event is like seeing him at a French breakfast buffet with a plate of cheese or at a media dinner with an open bar and top-shelf booze offerings; his eyes are big and he just can’t stop. And, fortunately, that drive and passion has manifested in iRunFar and we all get to feast on the smorgasbord of his cooking.


From Sean Meissner, who shares two stories:

“Bryon likes butter. He really likes butter. In fact, he likes it so much that, at the post-race awards dinner for the 2008 TransRockies Run, I dared him to eat a lot of it. I don’t recall exactly how many pads of butter there were on that plate, but there were A LOT. I’m thinking at least a dozen. He ate ’em all, without adding anything to the butter or without adding the butter to anything. It was gross. I remember lots of tequila and a sombrero enhancing that night.

“Up until last September, the coolest adventure run I’d ever done was R2R2R. I was super excited to have one of my best friends, Bryon, along with me. We had a nice run out, taking only a few pictures, as Bryon’s battery died shortly after we started. We made our way up to the North Rim okay, although a bit warm. Then on the way back, the closer to Phantom Ranch we got, the warmer the temperature got, and the warmer we got. And Bryon got hotter and hotter and hotter. Eventually, he had to sit in Cottonwood Creek to cool down. That’s a great memory I’ll have forever – just sitting and laying in the creek with my buddy, chilling out, and noticing him getting visibly cooler and more comfortable. I think we sat there for 45 minutes, then jogged another 10 minutes to Phantom Ranch, where we took another 30 minute break to drink ice cold lemonade and eat a king size Snickers. That was awesome! Eventually we dragged our sorry selves up the Bright Angel Trail and celebrated at the bar with fruity pink cocktails with umbrellas in the glass (Well, at least one of us had a drink matching that description:). Enjoying that experience with Bryon was unforgettable.”

From Kristin Zosel:

“Kudos to Bryon for taking a huge series of risks and leaps of faith, and achieving the goals that have resulted in the present reality! Here’s to more successes and growth– personal and professional!”

From Nikki Kimball:

“Oh Bryon, my partner in ginger trail running… How can I distill our many miles together in one coherent paragraph? My first long chat (40 miles or so) with Brother Ginger happened at WS100 last year. I’d known from previous conversations of his quirky geekiness, but really not understood its full depth until then. We so easily filled the miles with bad lawyer/physical therapist jokes, and terribly bad recitations from Honey Badger. I’m sure it took at least 5 miles to discus the relative merits of atlatl versus persistence hunting of elk. In fact I’m pretty sure the most innocuous topic could spark fierce dialog between us for at least 3 miles (and that’s 3 miles at 100-mile pace).  In any event, we got one another through the first half of Western with quite limited (physical) pain, given that our brains focused on anything but running.  And I still owe Bryon a beer for those early miles.
Thanks for being my brother in not only hair color, but bombastic silliness.

Call for Comments

(from Meghan)
It’s your turn to toast iRunFar’s Editor-in-Chief, Bryon! Leave a comment for or about the guy who long ago dreamed up the idea of this trail and ultrarunning news and community website.

EJ Murphy: draws the Happy Trails comic strip for iRunFar.com, while also creating the Ultrarunning Guy comic.

View Comments (4)

  • I am so glad you made the decision to start iRunFar.com and to take it full time! I very much enjoy your content and I proudly sport a bumper sticker. It is a great conversation starter at races!

    I am also glad you are focusing on some "me" time! That is a great long term decision!

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  • I drew Bryon(not Byron) for the first time 3 years ago. Well I actually drew his right shoe with a goatee, brush cut and glasses interviewing a couple of top ultrarunners' shoes. The only thing is that I spelled his name wrong(see above)and was mortified when a friend(thank you Sara M.) pointed it out to me. Well I felt really bad so typed out his name(no copy pasting either)100x's and emailed it to him. Since then I still find myself double checking the spelling of his name because to this day there is a part of my brain that refers to him as "Byron". Anyhow about a year ago I received a email from Bryon referring to me as, "Aliza". I can't describe how happy I was to read the misspelling of my name and the guilt I had held for the past few years was lifted as I poked back at him about his mistake. Well our past history of name misspellings has followed us into to the present with my misspelling Meghan Arbogast(not Arboghast) and him misspelling Beverley(not Beverly) Anderson-Abbs with each of us catching and correcting the other. However, now that we have ours down pat and moved on to defiling other peoples names I must admit that a part of me is still waiting for an email from Bryon(not Byron) with my name, "Eliza" typed out(not copy pasted) 100x's.

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  • We first met Bryon at Stonecat 50 miler, and I remember thinking it odd that he took a snort of Jack Daniels during the last half of the race (seemed to work well for him as he proceeded to pull away from me).

    We had the opportunity to get to know Bryon a little better during a stopover on his cross-country pilgrimage to move to the west. Bryon was exhausted by all his driving when he arrived at our place for a short overnight visit. Highlights included a nice visit over some good local Ontario beer and a trail run over some rugged Canadian single track at Frontenac Provincial Park. Some of the things that we remember about our visit was that Bryon seemed to find things about our rural Canadian lifestyle to be quite humorous. From the turtle crossing signs on the road (that he pointed out looked like squashed turtles), to trails that were beaver dams, to our outdoor shower.

    It was great hearing some ideas about Bryon’s vision for iRunFar in the early days, and his passion was obvious then with him working to the early hours of the morning, after a number of beers were consumed.

    We probably have a little something to hold over Bryon’s head too when iRF becomes a multimillion dollar enterprise. We were witness to him smuggling his beloved plant across the border. Apparently customs permitted him to bring it as long as he promised not to leave it in Canada. Little does he know that we switched it just before he left and are still holding it in captivity in Yarker. Bryon, please send $1,000,000 in unmarked bills, or a lifetime supply of gels to our address.

    Congrats Bryon, and all the best moving forward!

    Derrick Spafford and Sara Montgomery

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  • Thanks Bryon! Without irunfar.com I would not be celebrating having accomplished my second 50K! I have thoroughly enjoyed being apart of the ultrarunning community and Relentless Forward Progress was a God send. Thanks and hears to continued success! And finding the ability to delegate (a little) and enjoy some "Bryon running time"!


    Jay Kelly

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